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Weapons Inspectors Come Under Fire

U.N. weapons inspectors were at work in Baghdad Friday as the U.N. Security Council argued over what it will do if the inspectors are again prevented from doing their jobs.

Chief weapons inspector Richard Butler rejected speculation that his authority would be undermined by the weekend agreement the U.N. reached with Iraq, calling for diplomats to accompany inspectors on their visits.

Butler said the U.N. Special Commission, or UNSCOM, would remain in charge of inspections and scientific analysis.

"What's different? We'll have some diplomatic observers with us to make sure that both sides - not just UNSCOM, but Iraq, too - behave in an appropriate manner in these special sites," Butler said. "I think that's fine."

CBS News correspondent Allen Pizzey reports that the inspectors are facing fire, not only from Iraqis, but on other fronts as well.

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan reportedly referred to them as "cowboys" and one non-Iraqi source accused some inspectors of deliberately provoking incidents, Pizzey reports.

Sources within the inspection team admitted to Pizzey that some inspectors have had to be "brought back into line" but they claimed that conduct overall has been professional.

U.S. Ambassador Bill Richardson has said he is pleased Butler's team will remain in charge, a key U.S. concern. The leader of the diplomatic team - the U.N.'s top disarmament official, Jayantha Dhanapala - will report to Butler. Butler will continue to report to the Security Council through the secretary-general.

U.N. officials announced Dhanapala's appointment Thursday. Butler said he has known the former Sri Lankan ambassador to the United States for almost 30 years, and was "utterly delighted" by his appointment.

The diplomats will accompany U.N. inspectors into the eight presidential palaces at the heart of the latest crisis. Iraq had refused to allow inspectors into the sites, claiming it would violate Iraq's sovereignty.

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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